As with the Happy Talk Junior Infants Programme, coaching is a key element of the Happy Talk Preschool Programme. Staff and parent coaching sessions are run in each of the preschools participating in the Happy Talk project.
The Happy Talk sessions begin with the parents meeting together and being led through language development strategies and activities. These informal meetings often lead to discussions where parents share their experiences and the Happy Talk therapist provides information and support when applicable. The parents then join their children in the preschool and participate in the session.
The Happy Talk speech and language therapist introduces and demonstrates the activities and then provides direct support to the staff and parents in the form of coaching as they carry out the activities.
During the week the children continue to work on the activities with the preschool staff. Areas targeted in these sessions include: use of the Happy Talk strategies (modelling, expanding, balancing comments with questions); listening and attention activities; phonological awareness activities; vocabulary development, understanding of concepts, sharing books and developing pretend play skills.
The Happy Talk Transition Flower
The Transition Flower was developed in conjunction with preschool staff, junior infant teachers and primary school principals to support the transition from preschool to primary school.
It is a tool for documenting each child’s achievements across a range of areas including: self-help skills, motor skills, thinking skills, social and emotional skills and language and communication skills. The language and communication skills relate specifically to the areas supported by the Happy Talk Project.
The Transition Flower also highlights areas for the child to develop and provides preschool staff and parents with an opportunity to identify any concerns, which would be helpful for the junior infant teacher to be aware of.
Download Transition Flower (PDF).